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Review from
Fi: The Magazine of Music and Sound

(page 2 of 5)

The look and feel of the Klyne preamps is simple, but very high in quality. The units I received had black anodized face plates (also available in “platinum gold”), black chassis, and black ash lacquered side panels. The phono stage has a single button on the front panel, with a small LED nearby. Engaging the button mutes the preamp (LED glows red); disengaging it allows signal to pass (LED glows green). The line stage preamp has the same mute button/LED arrangement and five well-finished, nicely tactile rotary knobs arrayed to the left. From left-toright they control selection of listening source (Bal./CD, Off, Phono, Tuner, Tape, and Video), recording source (same choices), Left and Right channel input attenuation (unstepped rotary knobs), and output amplitude (volume, or gain, with stepped detents). The rear panel of the phono stage has RCA jacks for phono input, a grounding post, two sets of RCA outputs (main and tape), and a receptacle for connection of the umbilical cord from the unit’s small outboard power supply. The little three-pound-brick of a power supply, in turn, sports an LED on the front (so you know it’s on), an on/offswitch on the rear, where the umbilical is permanently attached, and a receptacle for a power cord, so you can try different ones until you drive yourself nuts. (By the way I did not find as much difference in power cords with the Klyne units as I have with some others, but did get fine results with MIT Z lls). For an extra five hundred bucks, the phono stage can be had with balanced outputs. (There’s a lot going on inside the phono stage, but we’ll talk about that later.)

The line stage sent to Fi has an identical outboard power supply and connection arrangement. It included one pair of balanced inputs, four single-ended (RCA) inputs, and both balanced and unbalanced outputs; various configurations are available as options, including a version with a built-in phono stage. Neither the line stage nor the phono stage inverts polarity (phase). Construction, inside and out, was exemplary; both units were free of glitches, operating flawlessly through a jillion (actual, precise count) system changes.

An interesting option sent along by Klyne is a special bottom plate for one or both units. Called a Flotation Pad, it consists of a sheet of 1/2-inch-thick high density Corian artificial stone sized to replace the standard bottom panel of the unit(s). The bottom of the Stone Pad (I had a friend who lived there in the Sixties...) has five hemispherical sockets machined to accept five (if the phono stage and line stage are being used as a stack) or three (if the unit is not stacked) rubbery, elastomeric Isobearing balls (larger than marbles, smaller than Ping-Pong balls). These things worked wonderfully to isolate the Klyne units from vibration, without adding any hardness to the sound—an effect I found, and disliked, when I tried hard cones or other solid feet with the Klynes. So, the Klyne preamp system sounded best when, uh, standing on its balls, rather than on its feet. By the way, I detected no sonic degradation or increased noise whatsoever when using the Klynes stacked, a nice (and unusual) bonus for the shelf-space-challenged.


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